Nikuradse-Matthews Summer Public Interest Fellowship Recipient
Since the age of nine, Alicia has dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist, emigrating from the Republic of Cabo Verde to the United States to pursue her studies. When an internship opportunity arose combining her academic interests in physics, astronomy, and philosophy with her prospective career path in teaching, Alicia naturally pursued it. She spent the summer designing curricula for the College Guild, a national nonprofit offering academic courses to incarcerated people.
Alicia redesigned the College Guild’s existing Philosophy course and created General Science and Astrophysics courses. In designing courses, “I experienced an essential part of being an educator, which does not just include lecturing, but also involves organizing material in a way that is comprehensible, challenging, engaging, and fun.” She also worked one-on-one with a diverse group of students in these courses, reading their work and providing constructive feedback. “The College Guild’s student body is very complex: some did not finish high school, others have a college degree, others have learning disabilities, and some do not have enough English. I learned how to translate a complex scientific formula into everyday language, as I could not assume that my students knew what an atom is.”
Through her internship, Alicia gained teaching experience and a real-world context for her studies at Bowdoin. Working with the students “changed the way I see and approach science” and deepened her intellectual curiosity. Alicia hopes to bring this experience back to Cabo Verde, where she plans to “teach astronomy to passionate children who love science, but lack resources and support to study it.”
- Date July 19, 2016
- Tags 2016, Education, First Year, Nikuradse-Matthews, Social Service, USA